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Prosper Canada's COVID-19 Response

27 May 2020
Over eight million Canadians have lost jobs or significant earnings due to COVID-19 and are urgently seeking financial relief.
COVID-19 has also made life much worse for 2M+ Canadians who were already living on low incomes prior to the pandemic:
  • Many community services they rely on to make ends meet have shut down – e.g. food banks, free internet at libraries, and drop-in centres with free laundry, clothing, and transit tokens. 
  • They are at high risk from COVID-19 because many work in low-wage essential jobs they cannot do from home and those travelling to work are likely to be reliant on public transit. 
  • Many cannot practice effective physical distancing because they live in crowded housing, shelters or on the street.
  • They are more likely to have underlying conditions that increase health risks from COVID-19. 
Governments and institutions have responded with important relief measures, but many vulnerable Canadians struggle to navigate and access these successfully due to language, literacy, numeracy, digital and other barriers.
Almost 1M Canadians who need help to tax file risk losing access to existing benefits if they do not file by June 1 (provincial benefits) in some cases, Sept 1 (GST Credit and Canada Child Benefit) or October 1 (Guaranteed Income Supplement for Seniors) in others.
In addition, Canadians who have accessed emergency relief need to adjust to reduced incomes but have few places to turn for expert help with budgeting, managing their debt, or making a plan to rebuild their financial health.
Without help, Canadians can expect a major rise in household debt which will act as a brake on our economic recovery.
How Prosper Canada is responding
Prosper Canada has been working with governments, businesses and community partners across Canada to help connect Canadians in need to benefits and COVID-19 relief, and money management help to rebuild their financial stability and health by:

  • Launching a one-stop Financial Relief Navigator portal, providing Canadians with clear, easy-to- navigate information on all COVID-19 emergency relief available from federal/provincial governments and major banks, credit unions, utilities and telephone/internet providers;
  • Working to develop new telephone/online service models to deliver tax-filing help safely and securely to vulnerable Canadians, with the Canada Revenue Agency and community experts;
  • Building toolkits and laying the groundwork for large-scale online training so we can equip service providers across Canada to get new, remote tax-filing, benefit navigation and financial counselling services up and running quickly; 
  • Engaging partners in all sectors to help us leverage existing service systems and technology platforms to sustainably scale financial help services to reach Canadians who need help; and
  • Engaging federal and provincial/territorial governments to make the changes needed to ensure emergency benefits reach vulnerable people and that they do not lose critical income benefits and in kind supports if they cannot tax file on time. 

Call to action 
We don’t have time to waste in addressing this gap. We must invest now to support financially vulnerable Canadians so they can weather this crisis safely and so all households are able to participate in and contribute to a rapid economic recovery.  
We can’t change the past, but we can choose our future -- and how Canada will emerge from this pandemic. 
Working together, we can save lives, redirect the financial trajectory of Canadians and build their resilience against future emergencies – but we need help.  
The time to invest in a strong recovery for everyone in Canada is now. We invite you to join us.